Napa Journal: They don't make summers like this anymore – Napa Valley Register

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Kevin Courtney masked

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There is little about my childhood that makes me nostalgic. My family moved ever few years from state to state, my parents got a bitter divorce, I was mostly a loner.

But there was a brief period when conditions were golden — my prime boyhood years between age 7 and 10 when we lived in rural Connecticut. Summertime in Stafford Springs was a glorious ramble.

I have no idea how children that age spend their summers these days. Even before pandemic restrictions, I hardly ever saw kids out and about. Were they inside playing on their devices? Off at camps?

Quite the mystery!

If you could have flown a drone over my country neighborhood in the mid-50s, you’d have seen me romping outdoors all summer with my brother Joe and our buddies next door, Johnny and Freddy. We were New England Huck Finns who improvised our own entertainment.

Some of it was shocking from today’s perspective. We shot tiny birds with our BB guns, then devoured them at “Robin Hood” cookouts.

When we weren’t killing birds, we were hunting frogs and scooping up their gelatinous egg blobs from the nearby pond along the dirt road that disappeared deep into a forest without known limits.

In the late summer, we rode in the bed of a truck behind the baling machine that turned the hay field behind our houses into beautifully wrapped bundles of cow food.

We’d walk down a country lane to an isolated cemetery where graves going back two centuries were protected by a wall built from the rocks that departing glaciers had dropped thousands of years earlier.

We ate sandwiches between the lichen-covered gravestones and attempted to walk the top of the overgrown wall while avoiding poison ivy.

There was an 18th century vibe to our country enclave. The sunken outline of the old “post road” from New York to Boston ran through our front yard. The core of our house was 200 years old and had once been a stable for travelers who stayed at the now-ramshackle inn next door.

According to legend, Lafayette stayed at our house, or at least his horse did.

An elderly woman lived alone in the inn. She once showed off ancient buffalo skin rugs on the floor of a ballroom on springs that softened the impact of dancing. I tried, but my 75-pound body couldn’t get the floor to bounce.

Near the old inn lived a younger playmate whose home barely had modern conveniences. His family had a hand pump in the kitchen to draw well water.

When Joe and I were out of doors, we were mostly bare chested, our skin baked brown by the sun. I cringe at the memory of such epidermis abuse. I don’t blame my mother. I doubt sunscreen had been invented.

When I did clothe myself, it was often to dress up as a cowboy, complete with boots and a toy pistol strapped to my side. How I loved playing cowboys … and Indians. My black-and-white TV heroes were all cowboys.

Where were my parents during these summers? My mother had my younger sister and newborn to care for. I guess my dad was off at work. I don’t recall either of them giving me much summer guidance.

And then, poof, it all ended. We moved to a ticky-tacky, tiny-lot subdivision in a northern New Jersey suburb as I entered sixth grade. This was an alien urban environment filled with teenagers whose mere presence intimidated me.

That ended my roaming, shirt-less adventurous summers. I retreated indoors and became a book worm.

Watch Now: On the Napa River Trail with Carol and Gail

Kevin can be reached at 707- 256-2217 or Napa Valley Register, 1615 Soscol Ave., Napa, 94559, or kcourtney@napanews.com.

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JK Rowling's Transphobia Reportedly Made Harry Potter Game Developers “Uncomfortable” – Pedestrian TV

There’s reportedly a new Harry Potter game on its way – yay, right? But there’s a bit of controversy surrounding the release and it, of course, has to do with IRL Voldermort, J.K. Rowling.

Several video game sources told Bloomberg that Warner Bros. is working on a game for multiple platforms, including PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, but the folks behind the game are nervous about its release following Rowling’s transphobic comments.

The publication claims Rowling’s remarks made “some members of the team uncomfortable and sparked private discussions among staff over the pandemic water cooler, the workplace communication app Slack.”

Felicia Grady, managing editor of the popular Harry Potter fan site MuggleNet, said the Rowling controversy is likely to summon a shroud of Dementor-like negativity around the game.

“Based on what I’ve seen from fans, I do believe that Rowling’s comments have had some effect on the level of excitement they have for the Harry Potter RPG or other upcoming content,” Grady wrote in an email.

“We’ve seen comments from fans who no longer wish to support Rowling or the brand financially.”

Footage from a very early version of the currently untitled game began circulating back in 2018. Head here to check it out.

The big-budget Harry Potter game will let players role-play as wizards and roam a “vast, open-world re-creation of Hogwarts and its surrounding areas.” This sounds pretty damn sick, basically Grand Theft Auto but with broomsticks, but has Rowling’s evil comments impacted the release of the game?

We’ll see. Mischief fucking managed, J.K.

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Best Faux Cowhide Rugs on Amazon – STYLECASTER

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Cowhide and leather rugs have become a popular statement piece for a wide range of interior design styles, but they’re also one of those distinctive statement pieces that people tend to either love or absolutely loathe. Regardless, aside from aesthetic versatility, they also offer a slew of practical benefits as well. For starters, they’re extremely durable and resistant to stains and marks, so they’ll last you a decent amount of time with the right care. Secondly, they’re also pretty easy to clean if you have an accident, making them a great piece for living rooms or entryways that get a lot of traffic.

Aside from their rugged and everlasting appeal, they also add a bit of texture and an organic feel to a space with just one piece. They come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and patterns, allowing you to find a rug to suit your current style easily. Unfortunately, not only can they be on the pricey side, they’re not exactly vegan-friendly. Fortunately, you can get the look without dropping a major coin or investing in an authentic rug. If you love the look cowhide rugs, but don’t feel comfortable investing in a natural piece, we’ve found a few vegan options that will do just the trick.

Our mission at STYLECASTER is to bring style to the people, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale and the retailer may receive certain auditable data for accounting purposes.

1. nuLoom Faux Cowhide Rug

nuLOOM Iraida Faux Cowhide

nuLOOM.

This sleek, cow-shaped rug adds an organic and rustic appeal to any space without looking over-the-top. This style will not shed or pill, and it’s made with high-quality synthetic fibers, making it feel soft to the touch and super easy to clean and spot treat.

2. Loloi II GC-05 Grand Canyon Collection Faux Cowhide Area Rug

 Loloi II GC-05 Grand Canyon Collection Faux Cowhide Area Rug

Loloi II.

This authentic-looking vegan cowhide rug looks just like the real deal but doesn’t break the bank or compromise animals. Made from sturdy and durable 100 percent acrylic, this chic rug adds a dash of bohemian flavor to any humble abode.

3. NativeSkins Faux Cowhide Rug

NativeSkins faux cowhide rug amazo

NativeSkins.

This smaller sized cow-patterned rug (it measures 3.6ft x 2.5ft, for reference) is a great way to add a bit of organic appeal to smaller spaces or lay over your favorite furniture pieces. This quality hide alternative is made from mold-resistant and shed-free polyester fibers.

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Rainy Side View: Goats: Big Island’s next big industry – Hawaii Tribune-Herald (subscription)

What shall we do about the goats?

No, I’m not talking about those grizzled, grouchy, grumpy old guys with food bits stuck in their unkempt beard who snarl and scare the children (full disclosure: I personally don’t know any). I’m talking about THE GOATS! The ones cavorting on the dry side of the Saddle and the up road to Kona, also mauka of Kawaihae and Waikoloa.

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Whenever I see them, one is always at the top of a rocky outpost.

“Why do goats like to perch on high rocks?” I asked a friend who’s lived here all her life. “So they can enjoy the view” she solemnly replied, proof that she’s been living too long in a place that caters to tourists.

Unconvinced, I ask another pal, Siri, who lives in my iPad, and from this more objective friend, I learned that goats climb high rocks to watch out for predators. They are also looking for an escape route in case they get attacked.

I pause with newfound respect for these goofy four-legged creatures who look out for each other and are endlessly planning their getaway. They are clearly a more highly evolved species than previously thought, but I am not sufficiently impressed to give them free range of our entire island.

Besides, what dangers can be lurking around Waikoloa other than flying golf balls?

Let’s start at the beginning. Captain George Vancouver is responsible for bringing cattle to Hawaii in the late 1,700s, but he also dropped off sheep and goats. Some history books would have us believe that he wished to contribute to islanders’ diet and nutrition, but I’m not buying it. I suspect he just wanted more choices for replenishment of food supplies on his long overseas voyages.

Think about it: Why haul unruly live animals across two oceans on small rickety ships to give as presents when a barrel of nails would have been more appreciated? It’s like the gift of a flimsy diaphanous negligee from Victoria’s Secret. Is that what the birthday girl really wants, and exactly who is hoping to be the recipient of such largesse?

On our island, there is already an enterprising young man offering his herd of goats to clear grassy expanses, and hats off to his practical and entrepreneurial spirit! This is, however, a big island, and there’s a lot of grass to be eaten.

I’m thinking about John Palmer Parker who was given the OK by Kamehameha the First to round up Vancouver’s “gifts,” resulting in the renown cattle empire in Waimea known as Parker Ranch.

So, how about this: Offer some brawny wranglers a few acres to start a goat reserve, along with permission to capture as many of the ungulates as possible.

After collecting and growing the herd, they produce goat cheese, goat jerky, goat skin rugs, jackets, vests, caps; decorators will clamor for billy horns to hang on walls as hat racks. Like the rabbit’s foot, a goat’s tail or ear can be turned into a lucky charm key ring.

The possibilities are endless, especially when these products are stamped with the magic words, “Made in Hawaii.” And even though goat is the most consumed meat in the world, it is not enjoyed by many Americans, but given enough cachet, it will catch on.

Tout it as exotic, price it high, and give it a French name, like chevon, then wait and watch.

But remember that the goats are also waiting and watching. Our new paniolo will have to devise a plan to fool the billies into thinking they are not predators.

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Good luck with that.

Rochelle delaCruz was born in Hilo, graduated from Hilo High School, then left to go to college. After teaching for 30 years in Seattle, Wash., she retired and returned home to Hawaii. She welcomes your comments at rainysideview@gmail.com. Her column appears every other Monday.

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We Found The Bougie Byron Bay Pad That Zac Efron Has Reportedly Holed Himself Up In – Pedestrian TV

This morning, word got out that Zac Efron is looking to buy that Byron Bay property he’s been rumoured to have been staying in during COVID-19.

According to The Sunday Telegraph, the actor has become so attached to the seaside property, that he’s made an inquiry about buying it.

Because privacy is dead, I thought I’d have a lil stalk of the place so we can see what our future BF’s soon-to-be home looks like:

The beachfront property is located in the coastal suburb Broken Head – a very close town to Byron Bay.

The lavish property has private beach access, a 12-metre magnesium pool and spa as well as boardwalks with tropical gardens.

The luxurious home also has five bedrooms, four and a half bathrooms and huge bi-fold doors that open the kitchen and lounge pavilions on to decks.

ooooh

pool!!!

more pool!!!

one of five bedrooms

lush backyard to frolic in

those cow skin rugs better be faux, Zac is v. green

For more pics of Zac’s potential bachelor pad, head here.

Image:
Byron Bay Retreats

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Understanding Allergies In Kids: What Must Parents Know – Doctor NDTV

Allergies can be treated with antihistamines, eye drops, and nasal sprays can be prescribed. Sometimes allergy shots are recommended to help desensitise the child to an allergen. These allergy shots however are effective against dust, mould, pollens, animals, and insect stings.

Understanding Allergies In Kids: What Must Parents Know

Kids allergies: To avoid airborne allergies, keep the family pets out of kids’ room

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Allergies in kids can cause watery eyes and sneezing
  2. They can also cause rashes on skin
  3. There is no permanent cure for allergies

Allergy is the reaction of the immune system when over exposed to an allergen such as dust or pollen. It results in the release of metabolites which can have an adverse effect on the eyes, nose, throat, lungs, skin, and the gut. The risk factors due to which a child can develop allergies are the genetic history, exposure to allergens and the duration, amount, and frequency of exposure.

Here are some common allergens 

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1. Air borne: such as pollens released from trees which form the cause of seasonal allergies, dust mites from dust accumulated in the house, moulds found in dark, poorly ventilated spaces such as bathrooms, from pets such as through their saliva, urine or when they shed skin and from cockroaches.

2. Food borne: can be from cow’s milk which is the most common food-based cause of allergies in children less than 3 years and from eggs commonly found in children below the age of 1. Other sources are shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat.

3. Insect borne: Insect bites can cause swelling, redness, and itching at the site of the bite.

4. Medicine borne: Antibiotics are the most common type of medicines that cause allergic reactions.

5. Chemicals likes cosmetics or laundry detergents, dyes, household cleaners, and pesticides used on lawns or plants also can cause allergic reactions in children.

1 out of every 6 children in North India has one or more of the following symptoms of an allergic reaction:

  • Bouts of sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Chronic cough
  • Frequent running nose
  • Recurrent pain in the stomach
  • Frequent loose motion
  • Skin rash
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Allergies can cause bouts of sneezing among kids
Photo Credit: iStock

Also read: High Blood Pressure May Affect Kids Too: Know Symptoms, Risk Factors, Prevention Tips And More

Diagnosis

While some allergies are easy to identify, others are less obvious and can be confused with other conditions. Specific diagnosis of allergies can be made by skin tests and/or blood tests if required.

Treatment

There is no permanent cure for allergies. Most of the paediatric allergies go away with age. Symptoms during an allergic reaction can be easily managed with medicines. However, it’s important to get the medicines on time.

Also read: Home-Schooling: 5 Tips for Parents to Teach Kids At Home During Lockdown

Prevention

The best way to cope with them is to avoid the allergens. Parents must educate their kids early on and often about the allergy and the reaction they can have if they consume or encounter the allergen. Inform all caregivers (childcare staff, teachers, family members, etc) about your child’s allergic reactions.

To avoid airborne allergies, keep the family pets out of the child’s room, remove carpets or rugs from their room, do not hang heavy drapes and use special covers to seal pillows and mattresses if your child is allergic to dust mites.

If your child is allergic to pollen, keep the windows closed when pollen season is at its peak and ensure the child takes regular baths. Keep kids who are allergic to mould away from damp areas, such as basements, and keep bathrooms and other mould-prone areas clean and dry.

Also read: Is Caffeine Bad For Kids? Here’s How Drinking Coffee Can Affect Your Child’s Health

Children with food allergies must avoid products that have allergens they are affected by. One must read food labels carefully.

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(Dr Shreya Dubey, Consultant Neonatology & Paediatrics, CK Birla Hospital, Gurgaon)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.


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We Found The Bougie Byron Bay Pad That Zac Efron Has Reportedly Holed Himself Up In – News Lagoon

It may have been said in jest, but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t on to something. On her very first day aboard the Motor Yacht Wellington for Below Deck Mediterranean, second stew Bugsy Drake joked with deckhand Peter Hunziker, “You’re the crew mess creep, aren’t you? You are, I can tell already.” Guess she didn’t have to follow him on social media to pick up on that vibe!

All around, it wasn’t a great episode for ol’ Peter. While Below Deck Med will begin to minimize his appearance on the show as the season continues, he’s still lurking around the boat and causing various degrees of headaches when it comes to the daily operation of the superyacht.

“I feel like Pete hates me. I think he’s used to being in charge,” bosun Malia confesses to deckhand Alex, who we learned in this episode paid for his college tuition via poker games (!). And when the other deckhand Rob came to check in with his supervisor, she told him, “You actually have a higher license than [Pete] does and you’ve been a lot more helpful and respectful on deck,” so it was already clear who was (and definitely wasn’t) succeeding on the exterior team.

But Malia had to check Pete when he pulled in a ground line that he wasn’t supposed to, and then made a comment about putting the “very important” line back on during an aborted departure that did not have Captain Sandy feeling too pleased. “Your sarcasm on the radio did not escape me,” Malia told Pete sternly.

Though there’s a bigger offense taking place on this boat that really irks me. Both Pete and Alex mispronounce Malia’s name (Rob, as in most cases, is excluded from this), and this is already charter three. Shouldn’t they be crystal clear on her name? It’s muh-LEE-uh, and not muh-LAY-uh. I don’t know if she minds, but I certainly do. It’s not that hard to pronounce, guys! They did the same thing with Lara, too, though it seems as though Pete has learned her name at this point considering he’s texting her that he wants her “for breakfast, lunch and dinner.” Hopefully he doesn’t have to point at the menu as the waiter takes his order because he’s too unsure of how to say the dish he would like.

Below Deck Mediterranean airs Monday at 9pm ET/PT on Bravo. 

Where to stream Below Deck Mediterranean

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Dashing and Debonair Design: Remembering the Late Paul Fortune – Yahoo Lifestyle

Photo credit: Dewey Nicks and Rizzoli
Photo credit: Dewey Nicks and Rizzoli

From ELLE Decor

In the world of interiors, Paul Fortune was a cult figure, if not quite a household name. That, like everything about him, was by his own design. The British-born decorator, who passed away on June 15 at the age of 69 at his home in Ojai, California, eschewed social media. He kept a low profile, moving several years ago from his longtime home in Laurel Canyon—the elegant, atmospheric setting where he entertained friends like Rupert Everett, Angie Bowie, Marc Jacobs, and Marisa Berenson—to drop out in the lush hills north of Los Angeles with his longtime companion, ceramist Chris Brock. The ploy backfired. “He tried to disappear, but that only made him more in demand,” says his friend, the designer David Netto. “The more he tried to make himself obscure, the more people were beating a path to his door.”

I met Paul in the mid-1990s, when I worked at Condé Nast’s House & Garden magazine, where he was a contributing editor (and the personal designer to the company’s then–editorial director, James Truman). I had just arrived at the magazine when Paul was assigned to style a story on rectangular glass vessels. In a world of unlimited budgets for sets and flowers, Paul—dapper, with a dry sense of humor and a passing resemblance to David Bowie—ordered a crate of oranges, stacking the fruit into towers and the glass vases into geometric rows. “It’s all about the oranges, isn’t it?” Truman remarked of the simple but genius gesture. Like everything Paul did, the understatement conveyed a perfect sense of cool.

Photo credit: William AbranowiczPhoto credit: William Abranowicz
Photo credit: William Abranowicz

As a designer, Paul put the first vintage Cadillac through the facade of the Hard Rock Café and designed homes for Marc Jacobs, Eileen Getty, Sofia Coppola, and many others. When clients purchased Wilt Chamberlain’s 1970s Bel Air bachelor pad Ursa Major, he jettisoned the pink velvet–lined orgy room but preserved the retractable ceiling above the master bed. Along the way, he appeared in two movies (Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, as Duc Fortune, and Spike Jonze’s Adaptation), designed music videos and an album cover for the Eurythmics, created a line of Lucite cactus lamps and hand-painted cowskin rugs, and had a hand in two iconic L.A. nightclubs—the Fake Club of the early 1980s, in an old Trailways bus depot, and, with Michele Lamy, Les Deux Café, for which he moved an Arts and Crafts house across the street to create the kind of venue where his friend Joni Mitchell might show up for an impromptu late-night jam session.

Simon Doonan, the author and former creative ambassador at large of the late New York department store Barneys, met Paul in the late 1970s in Los Angeles. “I went to Maxfield, and this friend said, ‘You have to meet Paul Fortune—he is English too,’ ” Doonan says. “Although we were about the same age and only in our 20s, he was bizarrely sophisticated, whereas I was still quite feral and very punk rock. I remember going to his home and watching him effortlessly make boeuf bourguignonne for 25 people. And he brought that same sense of effortless ease to his interiors. He really invented that soigné, eclectic style.”

Photo credit: RizzoliPhoto credit: Rizzoli
Photo credit: Rizzoli

A Paul Fortune room was filled with dark wood and vintage furnishings, upholstered in leather or subdued stripes, and dimly lit (“Spotlights are the devil’s work,” he would say). His own home in Laurel Canyon—which he documented in his 2018 book for Rizzoli, Notes on Decor, Etc. (an opinionated tome that reads more like an autobiography than designer tips)—was “a laboratory for his evolving ideas on lighting and atmosphere,” Netto says. The ELLE Decor A-List designer was so taken with Fortune’s work that he hired him to codesign his Richard Neutra house in L.A. “People thought it was career suicide, but to me he was more than a decorator. Right now, I’m standing in a room he painted red to go with a tartan rug I picked out—which not too many people would have done in a Neutra house. I remember I was in New York when he e-mailed me and told me he had done it, and that ‘It looks really good.’ He was right.”

If anything epitomized Paul’s style, it was his 2005 overhaul of the Sunset Tower Hotel. The space was as subtle as it was urbane—in the lobby, in the Tower Bar, in Bugsy Siegel’s old apartment—a symphony in quiet beige, with pleated lampshade sconces throwing soft light onto white tablecloths and walnut-clad walls framing city views. “You would go there and see Tom Ford, but it was also a place where you could take your mother out for lunch,” Netto says. “L.A. finally had a dining room worthy of a film noir.”

My last full immersion into Paul’s world was on a visit to Ojai with my family in 2018. At dinner, he had my two teenage daughters enthralled with his stories about growing up in postwar England and his early days in the counterculture in New York and Los Angeles. “You knew Warhol, didn’t you?” I asked. “What were you doing in New York?” “Drugs,” was his nonchalant reply, before he regaled us with his memories and contrarian opinions on everything from politics to the AIDS crisis to drag culture and the recent Ojai fires that had forced him and Brock to flee their home. And design, of course.

Photo credit: William AbranowiczPhoto credit: William Abranowicz
Photo credit: William Abranowicz

Later, he wrote an essay for ELLE Decor’s December 2018 issue on his memories of a childhood Christmas in the north of England—one where he convinced his mother to redecorate the drawing room with trendy chairs and wall-to-wall snow-white carpeting, inspired by Hollywood musicals. “For one shining moment, I was digging Christmas,” he recounted. But then the guests arrived, the Scotch was poured, “Aunt Margot missed her drinks table and dropped her punch,” and the festivities got even more rollicking from there. “The carpet was cleaned after the holidays, and the kids were banned from the drawing room,” he wrote. “It became like a joke to us, a weird mausoleum to that last Christmas. Like a Hollywood set, it was only good for one scene.”

As tributes from friends pour in on the social media he hated (“Anyone can Instagram, but not everyone can cast a perfect spell,” he wrote in his book), it is clear that the sui generis Paul Fortune won’t soon be forgotten. “He was life-enhancing, hilarious, generous, and a visionary,” says Doonan, who last saw his friend for lunch in Manhattan in early March, when they shared some laughs and Paul spoke about the renovation of a Frank Lloyd Wright house in Rye, New York, that he was working on for Marc Jacobs. “As confident as he was, he was never a self-promoter,” Doonan observes. “He was always very languid. He would say things like, ‘I’m doing this little hotel.’ Everything with Paul was easy-breezy.”

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Make your home the ultimate hideout with high-quality leather furnishings – Independent.ie

A cowhide or sheepskin is a sort of sequins and tiara for your interior – neutral but lively!

eather itself is one of the world’s most versatile materials, popping up everywhere from fashion, to interiors, to book binding. It’s used to enclose, wrap, protect, carry.

It has all sorts of extraordinary finishes and applications. It was even used when the Clarence Hotel nightclub was redesigned by architect Ross Cahill O’Brien for U2 to provide fire protection and a very sensual finish to the touch on handrails and steelwork.

The interior design world has always loved a good cowhide. It’s the maverick of the leather world, with no two the same. Back in 1927, when Swiss architect Le Corbusier collaborated with two furniture designers to design the ‘LC4’, a chaise longue to you and me, the cowhide on the ‘relaxing machine’ made quite the stir. As for sheepskin, the Swedes have a tradition of gifting them to line the cots of their newborns, but it was in the 1970s that sheepskin last parachuted into chic interiors, thanks to erotic sci-fi movie Barbarella – and a host of lookalike sheepskin sofas began to appear.

The Irish sheepskin is stepping into the limelight at the moment. Its long luxuriant fleece makes a good counterpoint to the clean lines – and sharp edges – of our ash or oak furniture and the simple styles of the Irish cottage style where they’re seen draped over stools, or softening up chairs and floors.

Whether a skin or a hide is good or bad depends to a large extent on the standard of animal husbandry it received which means Ireland has the edge. The same rules seem to apply to hides as to meats – the better the quality of life of the animal, the better the end product.

“The quality of a hide is based on its thickness and appearance,” says Derek McCarthy of Irish Hide Designs, who describes himself as ‘almost a professor of hides’ after decades in the business. “You can also tell if it was well fed, if it’s been outdoors in the wind, the rain. It’ll have a lovely sheen, it’s brighter and more vital looking – it’s from a healthy animal. Store-fed cattle, bred indoors, will have rub marks and bald patches and their skins aren’t as vibrant. I’d say 99pc of Irish cattle are bred outdoors and so you see it in their hides.”

Cheaper hides are likely to have been factory farmed, and can look identical. Take note, bargain hunters.

As for sheepskins, Derek likes to use organic sheep as they have ‘unpolluted’ skins, though diet has a big role to play here too. “You can tell if a sheep has been fed too much turnip by his yellow wool.”

Derek’s company goes back five generations to 1810 when it was first established in Cork as a hide, skin, feather and wool merchants. Each generation of McCarthy has re-invented or tweaked the company to survive – in the early part of the 20th Century, world wars and recession hit the business hard and the family fought to survive. Then there was another market shift four or five years ago, Derek tells me. Up to then, he would visit small butchers around the country to select hides or skins but many of those have disappeared. Now he has a single source in Athy where the specific quality and type of hides he likes to work with are put by.

Two years ago, he made the decision to add value to the skins and hides he traded and set up Irish Hide Designs, using skins from cattle or sheep bred along the Wild Atlantic Way, the only guaranteed Irish ones on the market. You can choose cowhide rugs from, say, Donegal or West Kerry cows, or sheepskins that have been finely cropped or left long and shaggy.

He also offers a range of furniture, anything from cushions to yoga mats – Derek handpicks the fleece for these – or shaggy-legged pouffes. Even leather aprons that are made with the help of Limerick saddler, Trevor Russell. Just the sort of thing for Father’s Day.

Sunday Indo Business

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Home Edit – Independent.ie

A cowhide or sheepskin is a sort of sequins and tiara for your interior – neutral but lively! Leather itself is one of the world’s most versatile materials, popping up everywhere from fashion, to interiors, to book binding. It’s used to enclose, wrap, protect, carry.

t has all sorts of extraordinary finishes and applications. It was even used when the Clarence Hotel nightclub was redesigned by architect Ross Cahill O’Brien for U2 to provide fire protection and a very sensual finish to the touch on handrails and steelwork.

The interior design world has always loved a good cowhide. It’s the maverick of the leather world, with no two the same. Back in 1927, when Swiss architect Le Corbusier collaborated with two furniture designers to design the ‘LC4’, a chaise longue to you and me, the cowhide on the ‘relaxing machine’ made quite the stir. As for sheepskin, the Swedes have a tradition of gifting them to line the cots of their newborns, but it was in the 1970s that sheepskin last parachuted into chic interiors, thanks to erotic sci-fi movie Barbarella – and a host of lookalike sheepskin sofas began to appear.

The Irish sheepskin is stepping into the limelight at the moment. Its long luxuriant fleece makes a good counterpoint to the clean lines – and sharp edges – of our ash or oak furniture and the simple styles of the Irish cottage style where they’re seen draped over stools, or softening up chairs and floors.

Whether a skin or a hide is good or bad depends to a large extent on the standard of animal husbandry it received which means Ireland has the edge. The same rules seem to apply to hides as to meats – the better the quality of life of the animal, the better the end product.

“The quality of a hide is based on its thickness and appearance,” says Derek McCarthy of Irish Hide Designs, who describes himself as ‘almost a professor of hides’ after decades in the business. “You can also tell if it was well fed, if it’s been outdoors in the wind, the rain. It’ll have a lovely sheen, it’s brighter and more vital looking – it’s from a healthy animal. Store-fed cattle, bred indoors, will have rub marks and bald patches and their skins aren’t as vibrant. I’d say 99pc of Irish cattle are bred outdoors and so you see it in their hides.”

Cheaper hides are likely to have been factory farmed, and can look identical. Take note, bargain hunters.

As for sheepskins, Derek likes to use organic sheep as they have ‘unpolluted’ skins, though diet has a big role to play here too. “You can tell if a sheep has been fed too much turnip by his yellow wool.”

Derek’s company goes back five generations to 1810 when it was first established in Cork as a hide, skin, feather and wool merchants. Each generation of McCarthy has re-invented or tweaked the company to survive – in the early part of the 20th Century, world wars and recession hit the business hard and the family fought to survive. Then there was another market shift four or five years ago, Derek tells me. Up to then, he would visit small butchers around the country to select hides or skins but many of those have disappeared. Now he has a single source in Athy where the specific quality and type of hides he likes to work with are put by.

Two years ago, he made the decision to add value to the skins and hides he traded and set up Irish Hide Designs, using skins from cattle or sheep bred along the Wild Atlantic Way, the only guaranteed Irish ones on the market. You can choose cowhide rugs from, say, Donegal or West Kerry cows, or sheepskins that have been finely cropped or left long and shaggy.

He also offers a range of furniture, anything from cushions to yoga mats – Derek handpicks the fleece for these – or shaggy-legged pouffes. Even leather aprons that are made with the help of Limerick saddler, Trevor Russell. Just the sort of thing for Father’s Day.

Sunday Indo Business

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